Cultivating Local Farm Economies: Planning and Zoning for Agritourism

March 11, 2022

Local farmers are looking for alternative ways to generate income on their farms. In response, local planning and zoning officials are seeking regulations that serve the public good and also support new income-generating activities on the farm. Officials, farmers, and interested residents are invited to join MSU Extension educators to learn more about the intersection of the Michigan Right to Farm Act, local planning and zoning, and policy best practices.

Video Transcript

 We want to know about that so we can improve our programming. And as Mariel said, my name is Mary Reilly. I'm an MSU Extension Educator based in Manistee. And I'm joined today by Brad Neumann, who was a senior extension educator. He is based up in Marquette, Michigan. And our program was also somewhat authored by Ryan Coffey Hoag. He is the chair of the Farm Market GAAMPs committee, at least this year, and also Kurt Schindler who is retired now. So we're going to start off with the Right to Farm Act. That might be a, an act that you've heard about. And the Right to Farm Act was adopted in 1981. And it's a, a means for a farmer to have an affarmative defense. Should they be taken to court by someone alleging that they are a nuisance, that they the manure smells. They can't sleep at night, something like that. And so it provides this affarmative defense. But it does not mean that  a farmer cannot be sued, so it doesn't prevent a lawsuit from necessarily happening. And the reason why the Right to Farm Act was adopted was back in the late seventies and eighties, Michigan was growing. Suburbs were intersecting with farms, and some of these new residential areas started to sue the farmers for their basic farming activity. So the state set, set up this Right Farmed Act to provide that affarmative defense to help the farmers against these kinds of lawsuits. So the Right to Farm Act provides a preemption or a conditional preemption from certain parts of local ordinances, meaning that local ordinances do not apply or they cannot have a regulatory purpose against a farmer when they're engaging in certain activities. But it's important to know that if a nuisance lawsuit is filed, nuisance protection under the Right to Farm Act is determined by a judge. It is not determined by the Michigan Department of Agriculture. However, the Michigan Department of Agriculture does, it does have local GAAMPs agents that can go out and look at a property and weigh in on if it's following these certain rules or procedures that we will get into shortly, they're called the GAAMPS that also provide protections under the Right to Farm Act. I know that's a lot, but we'll break it down. So the GAAMPS, as I mentioned, or it's a short, shorter acronym that stands for Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices. And it's important to remember that a farmer, following the GAAMPs forms the basis for this affarmative defense. And if a farmer is not following the GAAMPs and they are subject to a lawsuit, than the Right to Farm Act would provide little or no cover for that affarmative defense. So it's not just a free ride. There are certain minimal management practices that have to be followed in order to get that Right to Farm Act defense. And if there is a suspected violation, the Michigan Department of Agriculture would send a GAAMPs agent to that farm to investigate the work and to try to resolve that violation. It's important to note also that GAAMPs do change annually. So it is something that you need to keep track of or a farmer might want to keep track of the GAAMPs because they are reviewed annually, They may change or they may not. So let's first look at in terms of the the local government, how do they determine if certain activity is covered under the GAAMPs or not? So we're going to run through these items. First, establishing jurisdiction. Second, determining what is or is not covered by the Right to Farm Act in the GAAMPs. And then third, what we're calling a GAAMP delegate back. So we'll, let's run through these. So this first part is a three part test. And in ordered for a farm to be covered or to use the Right to Farm Act as a defense. It's important to remember that the party asserting that defense bears the burden of providing the evidence that the challenged conduct is protected under the Right to Farm Act. So let me say that another way and I'll remove legal things. So if or when a farmer claims the Right to Farm Act as a defense, the farmer bears the burden of providing evidence that the challenge conduct is protected under the Right to Farm Act. So it's not the government's job to verify that you're a farmer or prove you're a farmer. It's the farmer's job to prove they are in fact engaging in a farm operation or creating a farm product. So the definition of farm or farm operation is all in the Right to Farm Act. But a farm is those land, plants, animals, building, structures, et cetera, that are used in the commercial production of farm products. And a farm, what is a farm product? A plant, animal, useful to human beings, foragers, sod crops, flower, seeds, grasses, bees and bees. On it's quite extensive. Probably the most interesting one here is commercial production. So in Michigan, it's important to know that what constitutes commercial production is a very low bar. So it can mean just selling a few eggs to neighbors and the ability to show those receipts, some handwritten receipts, that's enough to substantiate that you are a farm creating a commercial farm product and you're in fact in commercial productions. But remember again that, that farmer has that burden of evidence showing that they are engaged in farming. And again, it could be a few handwritten receipts. There was a case Lima township versus Bateson fairly recently where this individual tried to claim that he was developing a tree farm and he had a lot of earth-moving equipment, lots of storage of vehicles and piles of dirt and materials and equipment and rocks. It wasn't something more like a landscaping an excavator accompany, but he tried to say he was developing a tree farm, and this individual could not show or substantiate any way that they were engaged in commercial production. They had no-they couldn't substantiate it at all. And so that's when the courts made it very clear that that burden, the person trying to claim a Right to Farm Act defense has to be able to substantiate that. Kind of a mouthful, but it is important. So second, what's the, what subjects are off limits for local regulation? This is the second part of the thought process. So we just learned about there's all those GAAMPs, right? The for cranberry production and site selection and manure, all different kinds of things. And so if the farmer is familiar with that, it's important to remember that what is covered in the GAAMPs, the activities that are covered in the GAAMPs are off limits for local regulation. So for example, you're zoning ordinance can't step in and regulate the boundaries of your manure spreading or something like that. They can't regulate what type of farm you have or farm markets, pesticide applications, spreading manure, those types of things that are covered in the GAAMPs are not subject to local regulations. But if the subject is not in the Right to Farm Act or the GAAMP, right, it is fair game to regulate locally. So in this case of Sena Scholma trust versus Ottawa County Road Commission, there was an issue where the owner of the farm had a sort of a cul-de-sac access. They wanted access to the main road. The road commission said no. And the farmer said, the Right to Farm Act Actually supersedes the road commissions, driveway rules. And the court said, Hey, you know what, There's nothing in the Right to Farm Act or the GAAMP about driveways. So you cannot you cannot just try to supersede local regulation through the Right to Farm Act when, in fact, there's nothing in the Right to Farm Act that covers driveways, right? So the the, the key phrase there was the Right to Farm Act as a shield. It's a shield from nuisance lawsuits. It's not a sword to cut through any regulation that might be applied to a farmer. Finally, let's move into the third area to determine if the local government has jurisdiction. So in 2014, there was an addition to the GAAMP for site selection and order control for new and expanding livestock facilities or the site selection GAAMP for short. And the site selection GAAMP introduced a new category for to describe locations that are not acceptable for livestock farms unless the local government allows for it. So this category for GAAMP arose due to the interest in urban agriculture, background chicken, background? backyard chickens, that, that emerging interest in growing food or livestock and more densely populated areas. So let's dive into this category 4 site and what that might look like. So the category 4 site is described as being a primary, primarily residential site. So what does that mean? It means that there are more than 13 non-farm residences within 1 eighth of a mile. That's about 660 feet. Or there are non-farm, there's a non-farm residence within 200 feet of a livestock facility. So this image on the right shows the results of a sighting GAAMP verification by MDARD. The green rectangles are the neighboring non-farm dwellings. And the green line is the 1/8 mile buffer from the livestock facilities. The little yellow rectangles there are livestock housing for goats, chickens, and pigs on the bottom. And the red areas are the 250 foot buffers drawn from the closest non-farm dwellings. So the livestock facilities where the housing, the enclosure, the fencing, can be located anywhere on this property outside of the 250 foot buffers and satisfy the GAAMPs. So local government or property owner can request a GAAMPs review and verification in these types of situations. So in these category four locations, communities have zoning authority over animal agriculture. But the bottom line is that this is a site-specific determination and not something that can be applied uniformly across a zoning district. So that's a lot to take in, but hopefully that's just a quick review of the Right to Farm Act do's and don'ts. And now I'm going to turn it over to Brad Neumann to talk about the GAAMP for farm markets. Can I interrupt for 1 second? Mary, could you clarify what it means by enclosed fencing on that last slide? Does that mean that those facilities have to be enclosed. In this, in this particular case, they were measuring. I think these particular animals were enclosed, right? So is the question you're wondering if they were able to roam the property freely? I think you have to go to the outer edge of the enclosure. Or maybe it would be your fence, your exterior fence if the animals could roam anywhere on the property. Okay. Thank you. I believe that's correct, too, Marry, right? The pasture area or the outside range area. Looks like you gotta stop sharing, before I can start sharing, which is a little clunky Marry, but there we go. Okay. Well, thank you, Mary. And thank you, Mariel. My name is Brad Neumann. I'm going to talk now about a, another place where the generally accepted agricultural management practices do delegate back to local government, some regulatory authority. And that's within the farm markets GAAMPs. And many of you will know the difference in the language that we use between what constitute a, constitutes a farm market versus a farmer's market. So a farm market is of course, a point of sale on the farm property or an affiliated property that is connected to the farm. So this doesn't apply to those downtown locations or other locations where we have a group of farmers that come together and jointly market their produce or their, their products to a bigger audience at one time. The farm market GAAMPs is relatively short. It's only a couple of pages and it's been updated just in the last year. And so if you haven't looked at in a while, it's worth opening up in and checking out. We're going to hit some of the high points here in the farm markets GAAMPs. So as I said, it does delegate back some local jurisdiction to regulate what goes on in that particular location of the property. First and foremost, we know that the actual structure is more than likely going to be subject to State Construction Code. And you will be familiar with perhaps the agricultural exemption in the State Construction Code for a farm building or an agricultural building, right? So a barn that's solely for the use of the farmer is not subject to the construction code. You don't need a building permit for it. However, when we've got the public coming to purchase your farm products, That's really the trigger for requiring that you have a building permit. So yes, that does apply in the case of a farm market. Secondly, parking can be regulated by the local government. Really, the only element that is preempted with parking would be the surface type. So local government can't say that you need to have asphalt or a certain size of crushed stone for your parking. And then changed recently to the farm market GAAMPs. Was the signage requirement basically requiring or mandating that a farm market shall be allowed at least one sign for that point of sale. But other aspects of the sign are still subject to local regulation. So let's look at this in a bit of a visual depiction. This is helpful. We've got a subject property and we have setbacks. Zoning setbacks generally do still apply to a farm operation. And so we want to cite our farm market a structure where we're going to have our products and invite the public to purchase those products. That's going to be something that has back. It's going to have to be something that gets a construction permit or a building permit for a course. We also then are going to have access off the primary road. Perhaps it's a county road. You will still need to get a county road commission permit or if it's state highway-an approval from MDOT for locating that driveway, there might be other location or local government limitations there. And then that parking is subject to regulation in terms of its location, perhaps the number of spaces. But as I said, this could be on a mowed grass area of the property or a dirt lot, that kind of a thing. The surface cannot be something that local government dictates of this operation. And then last, we've got the sign. One sign must be allowed. That's really a constitutional free speech protection. But beyond that, you would be subject to the same kinds of sign regulation standards in terms of square footage of the sign, perhaps the lighting in the sign, and certainly the placement of the sign on the property. So this is really the extent of the local government regulation that can apply to sort of the fundamental elements of a, of a farm market. Will go just a little bit deeper here on the next couple of slides. So this is an excerpt directly from the farm market GAAMP. And it says the Farm Market Act defines a farm operation as meaning the operation and management of a farm or a condition or activity that occurs in connection with the commercial production, harvesting, and storage of farm products. You notice this definition includes but is not limited to marketing produce at roadside stands or farm markets. And so we have that coverage, I guess in the GAAMPs. And the GAAMPs go on to say that although the Right to Farm Act includes farm markets in the definition of a farm operation, right? So as Mary was talking about what a farm operation is, we can lump in or including that a farm market. We need to be certain and understand that the definition does not define a farm market or describe specific marketing activities. Okay. So what that means is there is some gray area as to what kind of marketing activities a farm market can include. Think agritourism, right? What kinds of agritourism, events, promotions, experiences might be protected under this bigger blanket that the GAAMPs provides, of course authorized then ultimately from the Right to Farm Act. So the previous farm market GAAMPs had sort of a list of things that might be subject to local regulation. And now this most recent version of the farm market GAAMPs tries to get that specific list out and instead focuses most on whether or not the experience relates to the marketing of a farm product that you have. More on that in just a bit. It is important to know that at least 50 percent of the products that are offered for sale at your farm market must be produced on and by an affiliated farm. Okay, so it could be from a farm property that is at a distant location. But there has to be a connection there in terms of the ownership or in terms of the lease of one piece of property relative to the point of sale, where you're where you're operating your farm market. And that 50 percent threshold has a bit of variation in terms of how it's calculated. You can use retail floor space or you could use the average of sales over the last five years. And it's our understanding that the MDARD staff that do, do GAAMPs verifications like you might have for a farm market are fairly flexible in terms of understanding and working with you to meet these, these kinds of thresholds. You see also then the notice of products and their primary namesake ingredient. So if you have any processed products, you can count those as one of your own if at least half of its content comes from your farm or again, and affiliated, affiliated farm. Quickly let's talk about some important definitions. So I said this term controlled or affiliated. That is key because we need to show that connection. This does mean though, that you could have a, say, separate, smaller parcel that is not on farm, but that you own and control. And you can locate you farm market there. So this doesn't necessarily have to be right there at the end of your driveway where your barns and your equipment are located. If you are locating a farm market, if the retail space is greater than a 120 square feet, it does need to be at some distance from neighboring non-farm residences. And so these numbers, 120 square feet, there's a connection to the state Construction Code there for an accessory commercial structure. And the 165 that comes really down from the Land Division Act in terms of what we might see in terms of average parcel sizes from a typical core of a land division out of a 40 acre parcel. Detail there that you might not care about, but it is sort of rooted in some existing and state law. And then it's important that the latest set of GAAMPs say that we can't have a newer expanding farm market in a planted subdivision or a similar development of like a site condominium. Here are two other important definitions. I've used this term affiliated and you can see that there I guess I'll use my time on this slide to speak to that idea of marketing, right? I said that there's not a definitive list of what kinds of activities are included or protected under the Right to Farm Act in the GAAMP versus those that would be subject to local approval. It all comes down to this term marketing. Okay, So if it is something that's promotional and educational and it's considered to be incidental to the farm operation that you have there. And it's all about selling more of your farm product, then you can make the conclusion that it would be protected under Right to Farm and something that would not be subject to local regulation. So you can see a couple of images here. Farm to table meals, farm tours. Those we can say with high degree of confidence, would be generally allowed at any farm market or in connection with that farm market. So long as those meals that you're serving would be using products that you produce or that you've processed and have tied to your operation. So we would encourage you before thinking about any new activities at a farm market with an agritourism sort of mindset that you really think this one through. And maybe even talk to some local officials about this, zoning administrator as one. You could also talk to MDARD staff or, you know, holler at the Mary or I, or any other knowledgeable extension educator. And make sure you can draw a plain connection that what you're trying to do here is promotional or educational. And it's all about driving more sales to your business, to your farm market. The last thing I'll mention here real quick is in the farm market GAAMPs, there is a reference to a site plan. A farm market should have a written site plan for potential MDARD review that preempt local government regulations. So this would be showing the layout of your facility. Some of the things I mentioned in terms of your farm market structure, parking, signage, etc. Keep in mind that you may still be required to submit a site plan to the local municipality. So this doesn't totally take the local government out of the picture. You might be submitting something for MDARD with the GAAMPs review. And at the same time, you might need to also prepare slightly different site plan based on the standards of the local government jurisdiction. All right. Mary, what do you think? Should we take a question now or shall we proceed? We have any questions? Let's see-I do see one here. I guess it was directly to me. In an U-Pick scenario, is field counted as retail floor space? I don't I don't think so. That's an interesting question. I don't think so. I don't think I don't think that applies. I would agree with that. But it brings up some interesting questions though. If you don't actually have any your product picked and ready, let's think strawberries, right? Most of that is, it's, you're gonna, you're gonna go and do that all on your own as a U-Pick. And so I don't know-it's interesting to think through, but generally, we would say, no it doesn't apply. If you want to stop share. Alright, in this next section, we're going to be talking about food processing and agribusiness. So the farm market GAAMP touches on obviously, you know, retail but also a little bit of an agritourism angle. Like Brad was just talking about. So that we're going to now talk a little bit more about food processing or agribusiness and how that might fit into your business model and how it's regulated. So a number of small, midsize, even large farms are now having to do more, right? Than just raise it and sell it. They're having to engage in some kind of additional activity, retailing, marketing and transporting, freezing, growing, packaging. So we're going to talk today a little bit more about the processing and packaging element in terms of creating that value-added product. So we just initially we started off with the Right to Farm Act. So that's really that growing of the product, the, the farming element. And then Brad just touched on the farm market GAAMP, the retail side. So we've got the blueberries that you grew on the left. You've got the blueberry pie that you're selling on the right. So there's a lot that happens in the middle, right? So that's agri, that's processing in the middle. And that is covered under a different Act, the agricultural or Michigan Agricultural Processing Act. So remember, I think this is just a great way to kind of visualize the different elements of the laws that we're talking about today. So now we're going to focus on that middle part, which is the processing. And before I get into that, the farm market GAAMP somewhat addresses the elements of processing itself. So that might include cleaning, grading, sorting, kidding, pressing, fermenting, distilling, right? i.e. wine, wine and beer, packaging, cutting, cooling, storage, drying, freezing, okay. Those are all elements of processing and food processing, this is the one area that is very clearly is subject to local zoning. So where Right to Farm Act and the Michigan the farm market GAAMP or the GAAMPs types of things, those things serve to preempt local zoning. And that's very, it's pretty clear under certain conditions, the Michigan Agricultural Processing Act very clearly states that processing activities are subject to local zoning. And what's kind of interesting too, is that within the this Processing Act, there are generally accepted processing practices, which sounds a lot like the generally accepted management practices, right, under the GAAMPs. So there's a similar there's similar generally accepted processing standards that fall under this Agricultural Processing Act. So so take note if if within your new business you are engaging in processing, that that those elements would be subject to to zoning and that can that can get a little gray. When it's all in your house. Perfect example, they're all in one pole building. So we could talk about that further, if you want, at the end. And sometimes it gets a little confusing, you know, what's agribusiness? What's agritourism? So thinking of agribusiness as more of that value-added activity, the market or marketing and entrepreneurship and, in agribusiness, tends to be quite scalable from the very small to the very large or even corporate type of food processing, i.e. Gerber baby food type of thing that could be agribusiness. Agritourism tends to be locally driven, where that farm operation is opening the doors to the, to the public to come on in, come in, visit my farm. Let's experience something together with your intent to try to sell more of the, the farm products and agritourism can look, can look very different as well. With carousel rides and wedding banquets and all kinds of different things. But within the scope of the farm market GAAMP. It's really, it's that incidental activity, that's incidental to the farm, that you're using it to sell more farm products. Oh sorry. That's a, that's an animated slide. Okay. And we know value-added comes in many forms as well. And it's entirely possible that you might have agribusiness and agritourism both on on one property. So what we do know for sure though, and that more and more in Michigan, communities are starting to learn is that the, the sights and sounds of a farm are changing. And people are now being invited to come into farms. Value-added product, products are really important to place-making and defining place and attracting people to the community. And so it's not just about keeping people out anymore. It's about how do we invite people in, how do we embrace even processing, selling, all different kinds of activities that might occur on a farm. But many zoning ordinances might not permit these kind of varied and mix of uses. And so you might find that your community embraces this, they thought about this. But maybe your community hasn't thought about this too. So there's a lot of variation right now in Michigan, but with the economy the way it is, we know that Michigan farms are looking for different ways to, to bring in revenue. So just a quick reminder that we've touched a little bit on scale, I mentioned Gerber baby food, but in thinking through regulation, we encourage local entities to think through the very, the very small. For example, you see the processing element there, like somebody's just canning probably inside of their home. And so even though that is subject to local zoning, there's definitely a nuanced point that if somebody's just making pie or making jams, you know, that it might it might not be a very high or any regulatory burden at all on the zoning level. But when you get into the medium and the large, maybe on the medium side, you know, those kinds of things. The middle picture there that could certainly still happen in the agricultural zone. The large scale, the Jiffy Plant there, sometimes when agribusiness gets so large, it doesn't, it's not even appropriate for the agricultural zone. Maybe it needs to be in a more of an industrial zone. It needs to be by a railroad. It needs to be on a Class A road for, for truck traffic and that kind of thing. It all depends on the community. And so we just encourage communities to think through different scales of farming. We also encourage the, the farmer themselves to think through where they're starting. If they're starting in the home, and then their, their intend is to grow bigger, bigger, bigger. When they do grow bigger, does it mean something different for them in terms of regulation? That they might have to move somewhere else in the community or move, move out of their, their property and buy a different property. So thinking through that scalability of the business kinda early on to know where you might be headed in terms of community's regulations. All right, and with that, I'm going to stop sharing. And I'll turn it over to Brad. Okay. The last section is a bit of a gear shift here. Now we're going to talk about on-farm renewable energy. And we're doing that because of course it is a potential source of revenue for a farmer. We're going to talk mostly about solar, but we'll also just touch on wind a little bit as it relates to suitable lands. We do want to promote a new resource that Mary and I I helped co-author. This Planning and Zoning for Solar Energy Systems. Says here it's a guide for local governments, which is primarily our audience, but also you as a farmer or landowner would find some interest in this because we do really talk a lot about co-location with other land uses. And specifically about co-location of solar with agriculture. And we actually phrase that little different, differently. We call that a dual use agricultural operation and I'll touch on that. So go check this out. If your unit of government doesn't address solar energy, take a copy of this to them and we'd be happy to help educate local officials on how they can do a better job of planning and zoning for solar energy. So the zoning is certainly one piece that could limit whether or not you can be incorporating solar on your farm property. We don't have any case law yet that says that an on-site solar facility is part of a farm operation. And so, you know, it sort of preempted from local regulation. We don't, we don't know that yet. But chances are it's going to be something you need to have local zoning approval for in order to locate a solar facility on your property. Course, there's some difference between whether it's for on-site use versus say something that you're going to get a rental payment for and be distributed to the energy grid. So zoning is one thing. Another factor, of course, is PA 116. This might limit your ability to locate solar. Prior to 2019, the state did not allow a principle use solar energy system to be located on land that is enrolled in the State's Farmland Development Rights Program. That all changed. And now you are allowed to essentially put your PA 116 agreement on hold and pause from receiving your texts benefits for that development rights agreement, so long as you have agreed to maintain existing field tile, if it exists, that you're going to plant a cover crop, and that's going to include a poleinator habitat, and the developer or the solar developer has posted a sturdy bond or the letter of credit to ensure that the solar panels will be removed and the land will be returned to a condition that it can be farmed. So this is relatively new policy change, but it is allowing for commercial solar to be cited on farm property that is, in the PA 116 program. You can see across the state quite a bit of a variation in terms of the percentage of farmland in the PA 116 program, with the thumb up there, between 51 to 80 percent of all farmland being subject to a Farmland Development Rights Agreement. So one of the sticking points for solar and wind development on ag land, as I said, is a PA 116. One is local zoning, and there's another, I guess, limitation. It's sort of conceptual that a lot of people have a perception that solar energy development is incompatible with agricultural land. The mindset being that it's either or you're going to take this land out of production. And it's not going to be used in the same, in the same manner. It might change the community landscape or character, some people believe, and solar energy has no place in an agricultural location or area of a community. And this is not necessarily true. One of the major contributions of the new guide that we put out is a broader concept of agricultural co-location. And we call it dual use. And so we present here that large energy facilities, a large commercial solar energy facility, perhaps could fit and be considered to be compatible with surrounding landscape if it meets one of four definitions of dual use. So a solar energy system that employs one or more of the following land management and conservation practices. One of those is poleinator habitat. So this would be a site or a planting that's designed to meet a score of at least 76 on the Michigan Pollinator Habitat Planning Scorecard for solar sites. And you can find that online. It's at the MSU website. Another definition of dual use is that we have conservation cover planted. This would be done in consultation with the conservation organization like the NRCS or the Conservation District. And it's focused on restoring native plants, grasses, prairie. The aim of protecting specific species and habitat and providing ecosystem services. So think of carbon sequestration. Think of soil health being part of the objectives here. And what you can see in both of these two components of dual use is that, of course, poleinator habitat could support area agricultural operations that rely on poleinators. And a conservation cover could really keep that land in a, in a very productive use long-term to be employed in the agricultural operation. And it also could be providing a broader societal benefit of something like carbon sequestration. Then we go into a couple other ways that we would satisfy this definition of dual use. One of those is that the solar site incorporates rotational livestock grazing and forage production. And this is part of an overall vegetative maintenance plan on the farm operation. And a fourth definition of dual use is the term agrivoltaics. This is the term you've probably heard of. We're saying that agrivoltaics is the combination of raising crops in addition to generating electricity. And you can see here this landscape where we have blueberry production with some solar energy generation in the same, same site. So check out this guide, peruse this definition of dual use. And this could be a very useful framework for a community when they're thinking about meeting renewable energy targets, continuing to enable farmers to make economical use of their property, given that there is interest in solar energy development, and also keep that land in a productive state for the benefit of the farmer. And for kinda that sense of place aspect that the broader community might, might be thinking about. Just a couple minutes left here to talk about some other things related to solar and wind. Suitable land, you know, renewable energy is not going to be a economic opportunity for every farmer or everyone that has farmland. Certainly there are limitations. I mentioned zoning, I mentioned PA 116. Other limitations, practical ones, relate to land of sufficient size or a project to be located. We know for solar, this should probably be cleared land and minimal slope. And we know that for utility-scale solar, a developers looking for really five to ten acres per megawatt of the project that they are looking to develop. And the most important thing related to the size of the project is the capacity of adjacent or area transmission and distribution lines. So that's really a key driver for all commercial energy generation is proximity to distribution and transmission lines that have capacity to be connected to more generation. Wind, one point here on wind. Of course, that solar resource is a little more ubiquitous. The wind resources is not so widespread and ubiquitous. And so there's a little more locational differences there from one part of the state to the next. I mentioned transmission being really important. There is a new study out that ITC produced and it looked at which lines in the Lower Peninsula had the most capacity. And we think that those communities or those properties near these lines with the most capacity are going to see the most solar energy development pressure. That's really a key factor for adding energy to the grid, is where we have existing lines and where we have capacity to, to add generation to those lines. You can see this pretty clearly in the MISO Queue.  So the MISO Queue is the Mid Continent Independent System Operators spreadsheet or database of all new proposed energy projects. And it shows here both solar and wind, solar being the yellow circles, wind being some of these green ones, you can see additional wind in a couple of locations and then solar in a lot of places down state. So this is this is the Queue as of a couple of days ago. There are plans to add a lot more solar statewide. Here in the thumb, this shows evidence of proximate location to the thumb, loop. The thumb had the installation of a real large transmission line. And the early days of wind energy development in Michigan. And hey, look at this, you can see these solar sites locating fairly close to the location of that available capacity. Some other spatial elements or physical elements that either support location of wind or solar or detract, or would be locations that are less likely to see wind and solar. You can see here, existing transmission is really key for solar. Wind, of course, wind speed, is key and proximity to infrastructure like roads to get that equipment in. It's getting bigger all the time. And so we need the access that, you know, major roads or highways can provide. And some of the things that might limit one's property from being really selected or key to solar energy development. Okay, we got a couple more points here and then we'll have a little bit of time for questions. So. Let me again stop sharing. All right, so to sum this up a little bit, key points for those that are in the local government planning and zoning. As farmers maybe come in to share their ideas, we encourage them to be open to the dreams of the entrepreneur. Be always thinking about venture costs and the seasonality that farmers might work in, in their, in their realm of, so plan that into the regulation and then always be clear about how regulations will apply to scalability of your operations. So again, thinking you might be starting in your home and your property, moving out to a pole barn, what does it look like for you to grow your business? What's that path forward? And then finally, for entrepreneurs, if you're going into your zoning office or other code enforcement or regulatory office building permit, that kind of thing. Be really clear about what it is you want to do and where you want to do it spatially on your property. Maybe you have a hand-drawn little map showing where you're building is going to be on the property, the dimensions, how far it is from your lot lines. And don't withhold information from staff. Don't be secretive and not tell them everything. Staff is going to be asking you lots of questions because they're trying to figure out where you fall in terms of the Right to Farm Act, what might be preempted, what might be regulated under the Agricultural Processing Act, what might fall under the GAAMPs. So they're trying to really figure and sort out what's happening with your property in terms of the regulation. So with that, I think we have about five minutes left for questions and Brad and I are happy to take those questions. I should add, we have land-use educators around the state. And so if you're having a question about Right to Farm Act, GAAMPs, you can reach out to to one of us that you see here on the screen. Fantastic. Thank you so much, Mary and Brad for that presentation. That was really great. I am not seeing any questions on the chat publicly at this point, but maybe  one of you, oh, here comes one. You may have some in your personal chat too. But Sandy is asking, who deals with the yellow area? You could give me a call for the yellow for now. Good question. Some appreciation coming into the chat for you both, as well. Just wanted to point out that I did drop a link to the evaluation for this session in the chat. So as you're thinking of questions and feel free to click on that and fill it out as well. I will mentioned we have a lot of resources on Right to Farm the MSU Extension website. And maybe I'll quickly pop that into the chat. If you are looking to do some more learning yourself, or if you need to educate a local official, we try to put those resources out there so it's comprehensive. It's sort of from a knowledgeable and authoritative organization like ours and can help to educate all sides of the issue. And I see Mary has answered another question in the chat of where to find the GAAMPs if they're all in one place and there's the link to find them. I've put two links in the chat. The first one is the Right to Farm Act and than the second one is more GAAMPs specific. They've just updated their website recently. So I would I would add that the Right to Farm Act is is pretty confusing even for the best of us. And it's something that if you're initially not totally understanding it, you're in good company. So we're happy to help. And Brad posted all those resources. So hopefully if you just took away one or two key points today, that's fabulous. That's a really good reminder. Thank you for adding that in there. It can be intimidating. Know everyone else feels that way too. Even the Extension Educators. Alright. Well, I'm not seeing anymore questions so I will wrap us up. And again, I want to send appreciations to Mary and Brad for joining us today and this fantastic information with us. Really appreciate your time.

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